INTRODUCTION TO ARCHAEOLOGY

STRATIGRAPHY

Stratigraphy = from stratum (plural = strata) or distinct layer of earth. The drawing below shows a cross section of a mound excavation with at least six levels of occupation shown in different colors, from the latest at the top (I) to the earliest at the bottom (VI), with various walls and other features irregularly interspersed. (cg/msv slide)
This real view of a cross section of a mound at the Early Bronze Age Site of Dimini in Greece shows the various layers in different colors of earth as well as several stone walls. (ivison slide)

Broken Mammoth Site in Alaska

The stratigraphy of a prehistoric site is based on radiocarbon dating; this chart shows the levels located.
Chart from: http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/oha_web/mammoth4.htm
 


RELATIVE CHRONOLOGY

The display shown below is constructed to show the relative pottery sequence found in different levels of an excavated site. Note that some levels may have no evidence at all from a specific time period. Although the pottery fragments clearly show which level is earlier or later, there is no indication of the time span of each level, which must be worked out from other external evidence. (cg/msv slide)
 

 


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